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Ankle Biter? I thought I was the only one to have that bad habit!


Before we begin this week's episode, which takes us through the middleweight quarterfinals, here's a handy ladder for you to refer to and follow along with as the fights progress. This way, you won't have to rely on having the show tell you which robot will face which robot in the semis like the people who watched the show did.

             
   Hazard    |
             |             
             |             |
    Zion     |             |
                           |             
                           |             |
   T-Minus   |             |             |
             |             |             |
             |                           |
 Huggy Bear  |                           |
                                         |             
                                         |
 Ankle Biter |                           |
             |                           |
             |             |             |
   Turtle    |             |             |
                           |             |
                           |
   S.O.B.    |             |
             |   S.O.B.    |
             |
  Wrath Jr.  |


All ready? Here we go!

The first middleweight quarterfinal we'll be seeing is Ankle Biter versus Turtle. They've shown all of Ankle Biter's fights so far, so I'll trust that you've seen or read about them and that I don't have to explain anything about that robot.

Turtle is the robot formerly known as Turtle RoadKill. The bot has been officially handed over to Team Nightmare, and now sports a new green shell designed to look like a turtle. It's still an eight-sided wedge, and still helpless if flipped. Jim Smentowski continues to drive Turtle. In its previous two fights, Turtle had to face Heavy Metal Noise and Little Drummer Boy, both of which have seriously scratched up, but not broken, Turtle's shell. But John McKenzie, Ankle Biter's driver, speculates that he might be able to get his blade inside Turtle. If you say so...

The box is locked, the lights are on, it's middleweight quarterfinal time. And it's a miracle! An absolute miracle! There's no intrusive on-screen graphic telling us that this is a quarterfinal match! They simply rely on Tim to tell us that fact before the fight starts! Yay!

Turtle comes out first and swerves to the right. It then corrects its direction and heads toward Ankle Biter, which has spun up and left its square. The two collide. No visible damage. Ankle Biter then puts a mark in Turtle's shell.

Turtle charges Ankle Biter's blade and gets knocked back. A little positioning, and Turtle attacks the blade again. Well, I'll be danged -- Ankle Biter did get its blade stuck in Turtle's shell. The two robots spin in place together. Then Turtle gets free and both drive away. Ankle Biter spins its blade again.

Turtle hides behind the saws, but Ankle Biter doesn't take the bait. Turtle charges Ankle Biter's wheel, temporarily upsetting the bot. Ankle Biter charges Turtle, but misses.

Turtle pushes Ankle Biter around, lifting it off its wheels. Ankle Biter lands back on the ground, then spins and nearly flips itself. Then a kind of funny shot from the blue platform as all of Jim Smentowski's teammates gesture to him.

Some driving. Turtle charges Ankle Biter's blade again, and again gets tossed back. Turtle then rides the saws, which fling it across the box. Whee!

Positioning. Ankle Biter makes some sparks on Turtle, then nearly flips itself. Turtle pushes Ankle Biter in the rear. They meet face-to-face and Ankle Biter briefly gets its blade caught in part of Turtle's broken shell.

Turtle approaches Ankle Biter's blade and gets popped back. A charge by Turtle knocks Ankle Biter around but doesn't hurt it. Turtle meets another saw.

Turtle pushes Ankle Biter toward the sledgehammer. Ankle Biter escapes and Turtle takes a blow to the side. Turtle gets out of there.

Ankle Biter gets a couple more sparks from Turtle's shell. Turtle charges; more sparks. Turtle pushes Ankle Biter; more sparks.

Turtle pushes Ankle Biter toward some saws. Ankle Biter makes sparks on the floor. The saws pop up underneath Ankle Biter. Ankle Biter turns as the saws lift it up, and... I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Ankle Biter is on its head. Its blade does make a few sparks on the saw blade as it goes over, though.

Ankle Biter's wheels are off the ground. Its blade is now making sparks against the floor, but that won't self-right it. Turtle pushes Ankle Biter toward the saws, and Ankle Biter's spinning blade carries it across the Lexan saw covers. But Ankle Biter remains on its head, helpless.

Hey, it looks like Ankle Biter did have a way to keep from being stranded on its backside this season. A rod slowly extends out of a hole in Ankle Biter's rear panel. Unfortunately, it doesn't help Ankle Biter self-right when it's completely on its head. Though Ankle Biter is now bouncing around a little more as its blade chews into the floor.

Ankle Biter's blade stops spinning. The countdown begins. Turtle does the victory spin. And Ankle Biter is out.

Replays. Carmen. Then Arj and Jim talk about blades and wedges. I just figured out what's different about this interview -- Gary Coleman is nowhere to be seen. He must be over with Mark Biero, trying to get him to work UGO.com into the next set of introductions.

Then it's time for sponsorless BattleBots trivia. "Which middleweight has won the most championships?" No multiple choice this time. Like you really need it.

After the commercial, we find out that the correct answer is, of course, [Hilarious Buddy Lee joke omitted. And it fit so perfectly, too!]. Wait, no. It's actually a little-known robot named... Hazard? Hazard. I think I remember that one. It had some kind of spinning weapon, I think. Was it the thwack?

Now it's time for a segment about robots that perform household chores. There's Robomower, second-in-command in the Dark Sentient Robot Takeover. And ER1, which carries a laptop computer and brings you cold beverages. So long as it doesn't take over channel surfing for me -- I like to keep my thumb limber and fit.

It's time for T-Minus and Huggy Bear to fight. Huggy Bear is invertible. T-Minus' lifting arm looks more like Toro's this season.

Fightin' time. T-Minus hesitantly approaches Huggy Bear. Huggy Bear doesn't rush into things, either. The two rotate a bit, and T-Minus makes a dash for Huggy Bear's side. Huggy Bear doesn't let T-Minus get there, though.

T-Minus backs away. Huggy Bear rotates. Huggy Bear faces T-Minus and starts approaching. T-Minus backs away quickly.

T-Minus looks for an opening. Huggy Bear tempts the saws. T-Minus sees its break and rushes over to Huggy Bear's side. It raises the flipping arm but misses getting under Huggy Bear. Huggy Bear gets a shot from the ramrods.

T-Minus presents its side to Huggy Bear. Huggy Bear charges, T-Minus hits reverse, and Huggy Bear misses capturing T-Minus. T-Minus is in the perfect position to get underneath Huggy Bear's side. It does so, and up and over goes Huggy Bear, onto its back. Ooh, watch Huggy Bear's body flex as it lands from that flip. That can't be good for the robot.

The middle part of Huggy Bear doesn't scrape the ground when the robot is upside down, so T-Minus gets a little daring and drives into the hug zone to administer another flip. After it gets there, it thinks better of that plan and backs out.

Some positioning. Huggy Bear approaches T-Minus and gets it into that hug zone -- clamp. Huggy Bear has a good hold on T-Minus and starts to push it to the sledgehammer. But T-Minus has a plan on how to get out of this predicament. Up goes the lifting arm, pulling upward on the body of T-Minus, as it always does. This frees T-Minus from the hug of Huggy Bear, and T-Minus drives away.

Unfortunately, T-Minus just drove into the spikes, so Huggy Bear comes over and clamps it again. And again, T-Minus pop the lifting arm to escape. It does taste some saw during its escape, but then again, so does Huggy Bear.

T-Minus gets around to the inside of Huggy Bear and tries to flip, but only Huggy Bear's side briefly rises into the air. T-Minus forgets about the hug zone, just drives into Huggy Bear, gets underneath the middle of the robot, and flips it right side up again. Huggy Bear does some more flexing as it hits the ground.

Huggy Bear immediately responds to that by pushing T-Minus over some saws. T-Minus drives away. Huggy Bear backs up.

As T-Minus approaches Huggy Bear's side, Huggy Bear quits moving. T-Minus decides to hold off on flipping Huggy Bear again until it sees what's going on.

Huggy Bear tries sliding its clamper, but that doesn't move it. Wait, there's a little bit of motion -- Huggy Bear is very slowly turning. Then it stops. Then Huggy Bear slides its clamper some more.

T-Minus is wavering on whether it should attack. It briefly spins in place. Huggy Bear continues to slide its clamper. Then T-Minus breaks precedent and just drives into Huggy Bear. It tries to flip from the side, but Huggy Bear only catches some air -- it doesn't flip over. Huggy Bear is mobile again, and drives away.

Huggy Bear starts to get T-Minus in its hug zone. T-Minus escapes before the clamper is deployed. I think both bots might be a little weak in the pneumatics right now.

Huggy Bear gets T-Minus in the hug zone, doesn't clamp, but pushes T-Minus around anyway. T-Minus activates its arm to escape. It takes a little positioning for T-Minus to escape that time.

Positioning. T-Minus isn't going to drive into Huggy Bear's hug zone right now. So Huggy Bear chases after T-Minus. It starts to push T-Minus until the hub of the floor spinner gets in the way and T-Minus escapes.

A bit of a staredown between the two. Then Huggy Bear gets around T-Minus again. It clamps, then releases and simply pushes. T-Minus raises the arm to escape, but remains trapped. It tries again and lands on the middle of Huggy Bear. Huggy Bear is pushing it closer to the saws. T-Minus tries to escape again, but is still in the hug zone. The buzzer sounds before the saws can appear.

After the replays, we're told that T-Minus wins it with a 27-18 decision. Dave Schultz explains what happened to Huggy Bear in the fight. Then it's time to prepare for another break.

Before the commercials, Tim says that Hazard defeated Zion last season. To get technical (and since I rarely get a chance to be technical, I'm going to take advantage of any opportunity I can), that fight actually took place in season three. Hey, I'm feeling nostalgic. Let's take a trip back to last year and read an excerpt from my summary of that fight...

"Hazard starts spinning, but another pop to Zion and the blade quits again. So Hazard opts to just push Zion around for a while. Zion's sturdy, but it sure isn't winning this fight."

Wow. So detailed and insightful. That comes from my careful analysis of the three-minute fight, the entirety of which I can read on my monitor without scrolling. I honestly think I've written half-hour summaries that are longer than some of those season three summaries.

Commercials. When they tell us only to build with "proper" supervision, does that mean there should always be somebody reminding us to keep our pinky extended while using the band saw?

Bil says, "If you were to look up 'giant nut' in the dictionary, you'd likely find a picture of Tony Buchignani." That's rather insulting, isn't it?

We take a trip to Tony's workshop, where he discusses things such as luck and which robots he's afraid of. Well, they edit that part down to only one robot that he's afraid of. He also talks about people who aren't impressed by his robots. How can you not be impressed by Hazard? That spinning bar could create an impression in anyone.

We see clips of Hazard and Zion, and again are misinformed that they fought last season. I know it really doesn't matter that much, but I'm going to keep pointing it out. It makes me feel like a big man.

Robot rematch time. The lights turn green, but it takes a couple seconds before the timer starts counting down. Hazard spins up and leaves its square. Zion leaves its square and stops to think. Hazard's blade is nearly invisible.

Hazard drives forward. Zion drives to Hazard's side and takes a hit from the blade. But that hit turns Hazard around and gets its rear to go up Zion's front wedge. Zion starts pushing Hazard toward a wall. Hazard gets off before Zion can harm it. Oh baby, this could be good.

Zion bumps into a spike. Hazard comes over and starts damaging Zion's side skirt. As Hazard backs into Zion, it starts to ride up the skirt. Hazard puts itself back on the ground.

Zion moves away. Hazard chases and starts to hit the other skirt. But those hits slow the blade down to a stop. Hazard wedges under Zion and pushes it into the wall.

Hazard backs off a bit, Zion turns, and Hazard wedges under the other side of Zion (the side with the beat-up skirt). Hazard pushes Zion over the saws, which do a little damage to the front of Zion.

Zion slips off of Hazard and backs away. Hazard starts to spin its blade again. Hazard moves to the center of the Box. Zion comes after it.

Hazard drives into the corner of Zion, knocking Zion away. One of Zion's front wedges is looking pretty fragile right now. Hazard charges the back of Zion, hitting it again.

Zion lifts its thin arm, then puts it back in its body. Hazard attacks the front of Zion. That fragile-looking piece of front skirt is tossed away. Zion is dragging a small piece of something connected by wire or metallic thread.

Hazard charges the rear of Zion again, knocking Zion into the wall. Zion runs away. Then Zion comes back and drives into the front of Hazard. More sparks.

Some close positioning between the two. Another big hit sends both robots flying backward. Hazard hits the wall and its blade briefly stops spinning. Hazard spins the blade again. Zion's main arm is now sticking up out of its body.

Hazard attacks the front of Zion. More parts are knocked out of alignment. Zion drives toward Hazard, over a killsaw. After what Hazard has done to Zion, that saw damage looks like nothing.

Zion tries to attack the front of Hazard, but it's clearly starting to hurt out there. Hazard knocks Zion away again.

Hazard attacks the front of Zion, pushing the lifting arms up some more. Zion is pushed onto some more saws, which push Zion back into Hazard's blade. Zion no longer looks pretty.

Hazard delivers another strong blow to the front of Zion, making the other front skirt look like it's ready to snap off. The saws pop up underneath Zion, tossing it across the floor. Flecks of metal are sprayed over the ground. This is getting really gruesome.

Zion can't drive anywhere, it seems. But it can still raise its lifting arm, so it does. Hazard, not wanting to see any signs of life left in its opponent, spins up and drives toward Zion again. Except this time, Hazard drives right up the side wedge of Zion. Whoops. Good thing Zion can't move, or Hazard would've been in trouble there.

Hazard moves to the front of Zion, where the wedges have been removed from the ground. More sparks. Zion is now able to drive away. Somewhat.

That's way too much life for Hazard to be seeing in its opponent this late in the fight. Hazard continues to attack the front. Sparks.

Hazard hits Zion in the side skirt. Zion is pushed a bit by another saw.

Hazard continues to approach Zion. There goes the other front skirt!

Hazard attacks the front of Zion. More sparks, more mangling of the lifting arms.

Hazard hits Zion once more, which brings its blade to a stop. Since there are only a few seconds left, and since Zion isn't really moving again, Hazard just sits back and looks at its victim. Time is up.

That's the second time Zion has been able to last all three minutes against Hazard. Which only means that Hazard wins this fight by a 43-2 judges' decision instead of a KO. But you've got to give credit to Zion for "living" through that. Though if I were Zion, I would immediately be calling for the robot suicide doctor after that fight.

As they go to commercial, I invite you to take a look at the ladder I printed above. See anything interesting about the upcoming middleweight semifinals? Anything really interesting? Take a look at the semis. Soon, Turtle will face S.O.B. And Hazard will go up against T-Minus. Hazard versus T-Minus! That's going to be huge!

Fortunately, they realize this on the show and actually care enough to tell us that fact... after the Hit of the Week and post-fight interviews, anyway.

Yeah, yeah, the episode ends. Whatever. I am so eager about seeing this fight. Hazard! Versus T-Minus! This could very well be the upset of the season! Right now, the only upset is the upset I'm feeling that I'm going to have to wait to see it. Woe to anyone who mentions BattleBots to me until this fight airs, or who even gives me a chance to work BattleBots into a pause in the conversation. This is clearly going to affect my life until I get to see this fight. Which could be bad if I decide to go driving anywhere... Well, gotta go. I'm going to put a big note on my windshield that says, "This car does NOT contain a flipping arm in the front which is activated by blowing your horn!!!" Maybe this time I'll even pay attention to it.


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